In brief: A Good Enough Mother; Character Breakdown; Take Nothing With You – review

A thoughtful novel from Bev Thomas, a keenly observed memoir from Zawe Ashton and a poignant coming-of-age tale from Patrick Gale

A Good Enough Mother
Bev Thomas

Faber £12.99, 352pp

Ruth Hartland is an esteemed psychotherapist whose personal life is unravelling: her teenage son has disappeared, her marriage has fallen apart, and her relationship with her daughter is fraught. When a patient arrives at the clinic who resembles her missing son, Ruth’s boundaries start to blur, leading to errors of professional judgment that will prove damaging and dangerous. An intelligent novel on the dilemmas of the therapist-client relationship and good parenting.

Character Breakdown
Zawe Ashton

Chatto & Windus £16.99, 320pp

The actor best known for playing Vod in Channel 4’s Fresh Meat offers an entertaining and original memoir touching on career, life and identity. It is an enjoyable read, despite the humiliating tales of auditions or filming situations where she is physically assessed, objectified or subject to casual racism. Understandably there is an undertone of rage in her keen observations.

Take Nothing With You
Patrick Gale

Headline £7.99, pp368 (paperback)

Fiftysomething Eustace is locked in a lead-lined room for cancer treatment, his only diversion an MP3 player filled with cello music. The music ignites memories of his childhood in 1970s Weston-Super-Mare, where he lived in an old people’s home run by his unhappily married parents. Eustace was a lonely, unhappy boy until he met glamorous cello teacher Carla, who gave him lessons in music and in life, opening his world to a host of new experiences while simultaneously bringing romantic complications to his family. With echoes of The Go-Between, it’s an evocative, funny and poignant coming-of-age story.

• To order A Good Enough Mother, Character Breakdown, or Take Nothing With You, go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £15, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99


Hannah Beckerman

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
In brief: Mother: A Memoir; Catherine House; Upheaval – review
Nicholas Royle explores the parent-child bond, Elisabeth Thomas serves up a gothic horror and Jared Diamond unpicks nations in crisis

Hephzibah Anderson

11, May, 2020 @10:59 AM

Article image
In brief: Nothing to See Here; One of Them; Big Sky – review
A surreal story of a dysfunctional family, and Michael Cashman’s journey from the West End to EastEnders

Hannah Beckerman

02, Feb, 2020 @3:00 PM

Article image
In brief: The Seduction; Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls; James and Nora – review
A brave memoir on love and addiction

Hannah Beckerman

21, Jun, 2020 @10:00 AM

Article image
In brief: The Cure for Good Intentions; Widowland; The Moth and the Mountain – reviews
An eye-opening memoir of leaving journalism for medicine; a gripping counterfactual novel about 1950s Britain; and the moving story of a daring attempt to climb Everest

Alexander Larman

13, Jun, 2021 @3:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Lost Cat; Lake of Urine; LEL – review
Mary Gaitskill’s missing pet prompts an essay on love

Hephzibah Anderson

22, Nov, 2020 @1:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Stay With Me; Eat the Apple; Trajectory – review
Nigerian novelist Ayòbámi Adébáyò’s vivid debut, an inventive Iraq memoir from Matt Young and an introduction to the genius of Richard Russo

Ben East

18, Feb, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
In brief: The Family Clause; Anti-Social; My Name Is Why – review
A Swedish family at war, tales from the Asbo frontline, and an affecting memoir of brutality and hope

Hannah Beckerman

19, Jul, 2020 @12:00 PM

Article image
In brief: The Mountbattens; This Is Happiness; Churchill – reviews
A revelatory aristocratic life, a magical novel and a fine political biography

Alexander Larman

08, Sep, 2019 @2:00 PM

Article image
In brief: All Among the Barley; This Really Isn’t About You; Histories – reviews
Melissa Harrison’s lyrical coming-of-age story, Jean Hannah Edelstein’s unflinching cancer memoir, and consultant oncologist Sam Guglani’s interlinking stories from a busy hospital ward

Hannah Beckerman

19, Aug, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
In brief: Balancing Acts; Francis I; The Fire Court
Behind the scenes at the National Theatre, the life Francis I of France, and murder on the streets of London after the Great Fire

Alexander Larman

22, Apr, 2018 @11:00 AM